Casemate- American Armor in the Pacific
Author: Mike Guardia
7 X 10"
Softcover, 128 pages with over 100 black and white and color maps and images and vehicle profiles.
When this book came in the envelope of a few new Casemate books, I knew this was one I had to keep. I have a huge interest in the Eastern Front and the Pacific from WWII, centering on naval aircraft for me. I have come to have a growing interest in armor however, and a book highlighting armor operations in the Pacific was a must have. This newest edition in the Casemate Illustrated series gives us an in depth look at US Army and Marine Corps armor operations in the Pacific from 1942-45. I had no idea there was as many as twenty major tank battles and operations in this period, including actions at Tarawa and Bougainville. The book relies heavily on first-person accounts and outlines the strategies and tactics from both sides. There is detailed information on American and Japanese armored forces, including development. equipment, capabilities, organization, and orders of battle.
After an illustrated timeline of events, there is a brief introduction helping to set the stage for the Pacific Theater. The Opposing Forces chapter goes into detail in the armored development from both sides and includes a breakdown of equipment. The Evolution of Japanese Armor gives the reader details of each of the following armor types:
- Type 94 Tankette
- Type 97 Te-Ke Tankette
- Type 89 Chi-Ro (I-Go) Medium Tank
- Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank
- Type 97 Chi-Ha Medium Tank
- Type 98 Ke-Ni Light Tank
The Evolution of American Armor is longer in length, dating back to WWI. The chapter then goes into detail for the following equipment types:
- M2 Light Tank
- M3/M5 Stuart Light Tank
- M4 Sherman
- LVT Alligator
- M3 Half-track Gun Motor Carriage
The brunt of the book follows and breaks the content down by regions:
- Defeat in the Philippines
- Southwest Pacific Campaign
- Central Pacific Campaign
- Western Pacific Campaign
The book provides color profile plates of the M2 Light Tank, M4 Sherman, the LVT, and M3 GMC half-track. The black and white photographs are a dream for modelers to immerse themselves in details. There are close-up images of tanks with stowage, tanks with the wood plank side armor common in the Pacific, amphibious tanks with snorkels, flamethrower tanks, and all sorts of arrangements of extra track links wrapped around for extra armor. It was fascinating to see the lengths the IJA troops went through to try to take out the armor of their enemy, and the solutions that the tank crews came up with to counteract them. It was not uncommon to see desperate Japanese forces undertake banzai charges in the hopes of firing through the tank vision slits or dropping a grenade down an open hatch. More often than not, however, they were swept off the tanks by supporting infantry fire or the machine guns from neighboring tanks.
Type 94 tankette served up on a Sherman platter
This is a welcome book that offers some great reference photos of US Army and Marine Corps armor operating throughout the PTO. While some pictures have been published in other works, the majority of the photos are more rare and informative. The breakdown into the various regions of the PTO is helpful and helps highlight some of the major island battles of the war, including Tarawa, the Marshall and Mariana Islands, Peleliu, the Philippines, and Iwo Jima and Okinawa. There are a plentiful array of ideas in the book for anyone looking to model Pacific armor in appropriate settings. I welcome more volumes in the Casemate Illustrated series if they continue the quality shown in this book.
Highly Recommended for those interested in armored operations set in the rarely covered Pacific Theater of Operations.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing for this review sample.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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